Everybody loves a good life hack, especially if it’s going to save you some serious mulah! In these days of skyrocketing house prices, ever-increasing living expenses, and an unpredictable economic future, we could all do with finding new and innovative ways to save money. We all know the tried and true methods—eating out less, brown-bagging it, cutting up our credit cards–but sometimes you’ve just got to get creative to save a few extra pennies.
When it comes to saving money, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. What works for some people might not work for others, and vice versa. The key is to find what works best for you and your lifestyle and go from there.
So if you’re interested in getting a little more creative with your finances, read on for 13 proven and practical ways to save money!
1. Ditch the Trendy Venti
We all know that that $5 frappuccino habit can really add up over time, so instead of reaching for your daily dose of caffeine at the local coffee shop, try making your own coffee at home.
Now, sometimes it’s just fun to have the frilly coffee with the whipped cream and drizzle on top. Well, who says you can’t make that yourself! With a bit of practice, you can make cafe-quality drinks using a simple drip coffee maker or French press, and you’ll save a bundle in the process. If you just can’t live without your frappuccino fix, try making them at home using the many recipes you can find online.
2. Get Thrifty, Ban the Brand Names
We’ve all been there-you’re out shopping and you spot the perfect shirt/dress/ pair of shoes… but it’s hard to justify something so pricey. Before you reach for your credit card, take a step back and ask yourself if you really need that item, or if you could find something similar for cheaper. Oftentimes, brand names come with a hefty price tag, but the quality isn’t necessarily any better than that of the generic store brand.
When it comes to food and household items, try opting for the store brand next time you’re at the grocery store–you might be surprised at how much you like it! And your wallet will definitely thank you!
3. Reuse, Recycle, Repurpose
One person’s trash is another person’s treasure! Instead of throwing out old clothes, furniture, or household items that you no longer need or want, try selling them online or at a consignment store. These days, it’s easier than ever to pass on your well-loved clothes or furniture on social media through Swap and Sell groups, community pages, and marketplace websites.
Not only will decluttering your home give you a sense of zen, but you’ll also be making a few extra bucks in the process! And if you’re feeling really creative, you can even try repurposing some of your old things into new and unique items. For example, an old t-shirt can be turned into a cute tote bag, and an old dresser can be transformed into a chic bookshelf.
4. Kill the Cable, Keep the Internet
Do you really need hundreds of channels that you never watch? If you’re like most people, the answer is probably no. It’s hard enough to finally come to a decision on what to watch next on Netflix let alone browsing through hundreds of channels on cable.
If you’re looking to save some money, cutting the cord on your cable TV subscription is a great place to start. You can still keep your Internet connection, and there are a number of ways to watch your favorite shows and movies online without having to pay for an expensive cable package. There are countless streaming sites to subscribe to that will add up to a fraction of the cost of your cable provider.
5. Go Green, Go Garden
Not only is gardening a fun and relaxing hobby, but it can also save you a lot of money in the long run. By growing your own fruits, vegetables, and herbs, you’ll be able to cut down on your grocery bill while getting fresh, delicious, and healthy food right from your backyard!
If you don’t have a lot of space for a garden, you can still grow a wide variety of plants in containers on your porch or balcony. And if you don’t have time to tend to a garden, you can always try planting some easy-to-grow herbs like basil, rosemary, or mint–these require very little maintenance and are perfect for beginner gardeners. Plus they make a great addition to your cocktails!
6. Just Do It Yourself
In this day and age, it’s easier than ever to find how-to videos and tutorials online for just about anything you can think of. Before you hire someone to do a job that you could easily do yourself, try doing a bit of research to see if it’s something you’re capable of (and willing to) tackle.
You might be surprised at how easy some things are, and you’ll definitely save a ton of money by not having to pay someone else to do it for you! Just make sure you have the proper tools and materials before you get started, don’t take on more than you can handle, and don’t be afraid to ask a friend or family member for help if you get stuck.
7. Libraries are Making a Comeback
One of the simplest and most effective ways to save money is to get a library card and start using it! Libraries are a highly underrated resource and have kind of fallen off the mainstream path in the last few decades. But with a library card, you’ll have free access to books, movies, music, and more. And if your local library doesn’t have what you’re looking for, you can always try interlibrary loan which allows you to request items from other libraries.
Another great thing about libraries is the programs you can get involved in! Whether you’re looking for a social group or a place to bring your little ones, chances are your local library will have plenty of activities and events going on. Check out the calendar of events and find something that piques your interest!
8. Get a Rewards Credit Card
If you’re not ready to cut up that credit card, you might as well get one that offers rewards! These days, plenty of people are doing the majority of their shopping online. Convenient deliveries to your door, easy returns and exchanges, and access to just about any product imaginable are just a few of the benefits of online shopping.
Most banks and companies offer some sort of rewards credit card that gives you points or cashback for every purchase you make. And if you’re disciplined about paying off your balance every month, you can end up earning a lot of money in rewards that you can put towards paying your bills, your next vacation, a new piece of technology, or anything else you might want! Just make sure you do your research to find the best card for you and always remember to pay off your balance in full and on time to avoid interest charges.
9. Use Cash Back Apps
Cashback apps are a great way to earn money while you’re doing your everyday shopping. All you have to do is link the app to your credit or debit card and start earning rewards for every purchase you make!
There are tons of different cash-back apps out there, so it’s important to find one that offers the best rewards for the things you normally buy. For example, if you’re a big fan of grocery shopping, you might want to sign up for an app like Ibotta or Checkout 51 that offers cash back on groceries and other household items. If you love to shop online, you can use an app like Ebates or TopCashback to earn cashback on your online purchases. And if you’re always on the go, you can use an app like Shopkick to earn rewards for walking into stores, scanning items, and making purchases.
10. Invest in Energy-Efficient Appliances
Sometimes you just have to spend money to save money. One of the best ways to save money in the long run is to invest in energy-efficient appliances. Our world is becoming more and more environmentally aware and as such, there are plenty of energy-efficient options available for just about every appliance you can think of, from refrigerators and dishwashers to washing machines and dryers. Not only do energy-efficient appliances save you money on your monthly energy bill, but they also help to reduce your carbon footprint.
Yes, it’s true, the eco-friendly appliances tend to be more expensive than standard options and it might seem a little strange to spend more money in order to save money. However, we’re looking long-term here! If you spend a little extra now, you’ll be able to save big later! If you’re willing and able to shell out a few extra bucks on the energy-efficient appliances, you’ll certainly reap the rewards on your utility bills down the line. And who doesn’t want to do their part in saving the world!
11. Purge Your Subscriptions
Do you have a gym membership that you never use? A magazine subscription that you never read? A Netflix account that you share with your family but never actually watch yourself? If so, it might be time to cancel those unused subscriptions and start saving some money!
It can be easy to forget about the little things that we’re paying for every month, but those little things can really add up! If you have any subscriptions that you never use, cancel them and put that money towards something else. You’ll be surprised how much money you can save by simply getting rid of a few unused subscriptions.
12. Do a No-Spend Challenge
A no-spend challenge is exactly what it sounds like: a challenge to yourself to not spend any money for a set period of time. This can be a great way to save money if you’re someone who tends to spend a lot of money without thinking about it.
The rules of a no-spend challenge are entirely up to you, but a good place to start is by giving yourself a set amount of money to spend each week or month. Once you’ve reached your limit, you can’t spend any more money until the next week or month starts. This will force you to be mindful of your spending and help you to save money that you would have otherwise blown on unnecessary purchases. A fun way to keep yourself accountable with this sort of challenge is to have a friend or family member take it on with you! You can support each other and help each other to stick to the challenge.
13. Automate Your Savings
If you’re someone who struggles to save money, automating your savings can be a great way to make sure that you’re always putting some money away for a rainy day. There are a few different ways that you can automate your savings. You can set up a direct deposit from your paycheck into a savings account, or you can set up automatic transfers from your checking account into your savings account. You can even set up automatic bill pay for your utilities and other monthly bills.
Automating your savings is a great way to make sure that you’re always putting some money away, even if you don’t have the discipline to do it yourself. And once you start seeing your savings account grow, you might be motivated to start contributing even more!
Saving money doesn’t have to be difficult or boring. There are plenty of creative ways to save money that can actually be fun and we’ve shared just a few of our favorites. Whether you’re looking to save on your monthly bills, earn rewards for your shopping habits, or invest in eco-friendly appliances, there’s something out there for everyone. Just be sure to do your research and find the best option for you! And most importantly, have fun saving! By incorporating some of these ideas into your life, you’ll be well on your way to saving big. So what are you waiting for? Get creative and get saving!